Navigating the Wheel

5 of 5

Back to where we all belong

Wherever the paths of engaged Buddhism may lead, there will be opportunities to actualize bodhisattva mind. Sometimes, after traveling for a while on an unfamiliar road or trail, we unexpectedly come to a place that we know well. Having thought that we were exploring, maybe even lost, we exclaim, "Oh, I know where this is!" It happens in other ways, too. At the end of The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy wakes up and realizes that she is home after all; in fact, she has never left. Such experiences are metaphors for spiritual awakening.

On the paths of engaged Buddhism, we are not searching for some exotic foreign land, some far-distant realm of enlightenment. Rather, we are going deeper into our own lives, "back to where we all belong," until we stumble upon that placeless place that is our true home. Zen teacher and veteran trekker Peter Matthiessen says it this way:

To glimpse one's own true nature is a kind of homecoming, to a place East of the Sun, West of the Moon—the homegoing that needs no home, like that waterfall on the upper Suli Gad that turns to mist before touching the Earth and rises once again into the sky.